Eye On The European Data Market

“Ad Agents” is a column written by the agency-side of the digital media community.

Martin Kelly is co-Founder and Managing Partner of UK-based agency, Infectious Media Ltd.

Ad Agents: Martin Kelly of Infectious Media

One of the most exciting changes that the exchange era has promised for the industry is data liquidity.  This is a concept that was brought to me in a quite phenomenal set of blog posts by Ashu Garg – and one in particular covered this area.

The idea that we can purchase or assemble a target audience in one place and then use an exchange to find only that audience wherever they may be is one of the game changing aspects of exchanges.  And lo, to service this space, we’ve seen a number of data exchanges emerge and then increasingly a tidal wave of new data providers that use social data, business data, zip plus one data, demographic data, financial data, basically any data you can think of.

This is all very exciting, well it is if you do business in the United States.  All the companies that are pioneering the portability of data and targeting are based in the USA and service only this region.  Clearly this makes a lot of business sense, as it’s the biggest and most advanced market for this type of trading and the easiest therefore in which to get some traction.  There are also different and more draconian cookie laws under debate in Europe but these have seemingly been sorted out.

So as all the pieces of the puzzle move East across the Atlantic it seems odd that the data providers are staying rooted where they are.  We have inventory through yield optimizers and real time exchanges, DSP’s that allow us to pick out the impressions we want but no one to help us to work out whom to target.  Our guess is that it’s probably a mixture of this being the most nascent part of the industry along with concerns about the regulatory environment in Europe that are holding things back.

If we gaze into our crystal ball, our feeling is that a set of European centric companies will emerge (although they haven’t yet) that are tailored to the market and regulatory environment. The reality is that, right now, there is already a demand for the services that data aggregators can offer both -from publishers who wish to monetise their audience further -and on the demand side from forward thinking media buying organisations that are also pushing into this space. With the lack of off the shelf data solutions, it also means that in Europe, there is more of a focus on creating a proprietary data product based around analysis of advertiser data to fill this void.

It’s early days in the development of this space on both sides of the Atlantic, but this would appear to be an area that is going to see large regional differences in terms of the dominant players.

Follow Infectious Media (@infectiousmedia) and AdExchanger.com (@adexchanger) on Twitter.

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  1. Spot on Martin. From my view of both sides of the pond I’m seeing a lot of talk about opening offices and a lot of UK flag icons going up on US websites – but that’s about it. To be fair, it seems like there is still a lot to play out here in this US market first and when that settles we may see similar deals to “Improve Digital / Pubmatic” spring up on your area.

    Either way, TagMan is still very happy to help integrate everything and deploy everyone’s tags as we all grow. Did you see our new client facing video?; much easier to understand what we do now: http://www.vimeo.com/8770565

  2. Mark Stoneham

    I’m not sure that you can regard the EU situation as sorted. I certainly wouldn’t be investing time or money in a business-as-usual ad operation based on that premise.

    The FTC is also yet to finalise the regulatory position in the US, and Jon Leibowitz (FTC Chairman) said only a week ago “I have a sense, and it’s still amorphous, that we might head toward opt-in”. Coming in June or July….

    The industry continues to adopt a head-in-the-sand approach to this issue and it’s not until marketers stop trying to trick consumers that an effective online ad model can emerge.